I’ve always had this endless enthusiasm for potatoes. Where others would look longingly towards the dessert section, I would revel in the salty crunch of fries. Crisps filled my dreams at night and roasties haunted my days. My comfort was a sea of creamy mash, my excitement a bed of rosti. Oh yes. Leave no chip behind.
Was it inevitable, then, that I’d eventually find a way to incorporate potato into everything, including a lemon cake? I’ll admit I was slightly dubious when I found this recipe for a gluten-free lemon cake – sorry, you want me to put what in it? – but allow my own incredulity to reassure you: it sounds completely batty, but it works. Potato is a friend that keeps the cake light and reassuringly moist and doesn’t get in the way of the lemon at all.
Lemon, for me, is tremendously exciting. Its ability to enhance and be enhanced by the contrast of salt or sweet, to lurk pleasantly in the background or take centre stage as the main flavour, to hold fragrant oils and piquant juice in the one fruit – well, it’s kind of amazing. Somehow the moreish tang of lemon tempered with sugar dangles you precariously between the worlds of sharp and sweet, each clamouring for attention and yet working together in a curious harmony.
And harmonious is just how this cake turns out. It’s such a surprising and unexpected marriage between lemon and potato, but it’s a joyous celebration nevertheless and you get to be good to your coeliac and IBS friends.
Share the lemony love this summer (with a tall glass of Pimms, naturally).
Gluten-free lemon cake
For the cake:
200g butter, softened
200g golden caster sugar
175g ground almonds
250g mashed potatoes (cooled)
zest of 3 lemons
2 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius, and grease a 20cm cake tin.
Beat the butter and sugar together and then add the eggs one at a time, beating after each egg.
Add the baking powder and mix, then fold in the mashed potato, almonds and lemon zest.
Pour into the cake tin and bake for 45 minutes, or until the skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Put the cake on the serving tray before you drizzle, and serve with double cream.